Organisational Tips when Studying for a Law Degree

Law school is tough.  Being disorganized will not endear you to your professors or other students as you schlep in late, dropping a trail of crumpled papers from your open sack, plopping down, and inquiring of your seatmate what class you are in.  You need to have all of your ducks in a row to succeed as an attorney, so think of law school as practice in becoming organized, or having your act together, as you earn that law degree.

You need to lay the groundwork to be organized in three key areas:  Administrative, Social, and Factual or Learning.  The first two enable you accomplish the latter.

Administrative organization means that you meet deadlines for registering for classes and paying your bill or applying for student loans.  You find out where you may park your car without being towed and you obtain and display the appropriate permit.  You have a readable and usable list of where and when your classes take place and you attend the classes regularly and on time.  You record on a calendar that you consult daily when certain administrative tasks must be completed and what information is needed.  Record names of people who work in these offices, your contact with them, and their phone numbers and email addresses.  Do not be shy in reminding them in a professional manner about your previous contact with a particular office.  Appearing organized will boost your reputation.  When you become an attorney, you can lose a case if you miss a hearing.

The practice of law is dependent on your networking abilities, so you need to be socially organized in law school.  Your fellow classmates are your source for knowledge and referrals, and perhaps some will become your business partners in the future.  Get to know them.  Unless you have a photographic memory, keep detailed logs of their names, their families, their interests, as well as their skills.  Arrange informal gatherings outside of class for studying as well as playing.  While in school, your peers can provide you with valuable information such as which librarian is best-versed in matrimonial law or how to develop rhymes to remember charts of consanguinity.  Your peers will let you know which firms need part-time help.  They will also provide you with emotional support to get through these tough years.

The final area of organization is factual or learning.  You need to develop a specific skill set while in law school to enable you to practice effectively.  You can learn after you have your administrative needs met and your social network in place.  You will have the necessary materials, such as textbooks and study guides, as well as other students who know to interpret the material.  Then you can sit down, concentrate on the concepts and ideas, and process them.  The material is lots of facts that you do not need to memorize.  You need to approach the hundreds of pages each night as a search for your new skills of critically analyzing the bigger picture.  The tiny details help support your viewpoint, once you find one in the vast sea that is law school.

In order to be organized, you need a system that works for you.  Your preferred method could be a laptop computer, tablet, or smart phone.  Whichever apparatus you choose, backup your files to a cloud to ensure their safety as well as their availability.  You may be at school more than you are at home, so you need fingertip access to pertinent documents.  Scan paper documents to enable you to have all relevant information in a quickly accessible electronic format.

With dedication, you can start law school organized and remain organized throughout your years of study.  Being organized will help you excel at school and set the tone for the future success of your career as an attorney.